Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Is that a plate in your lip, or are you just happy to see me?

I'm doing a little research into the different cultures and tribes of Ethiopia, trying to decide whether a side trip is in order when I go to pick up Charlie. The side trip could not be too long, because I don't want to use up my maternity leave (which is unpaid) nor do I want to be in country, THAT CLOSE, and start heading in the opposite direction from Charlie. The most interesting tribes seem to be way down south, and due to bad roads, medication-resistant malaria mosquitoes, and an earlier rainy season than in Addis, I probably won't be heading south to see these tribes. But thanks to YouTube, I can sort of see them anyway.

The origin of the lip plate, according to one source, is that a neighboring tribe was stealing their women, so they tried to make their women unattractive Over time, it became a symbol of beauty to their own tribe.

Funny how that happened!

The lip is minimally cut when the female reaches adolescence, and then slowly expanded over time to accomodate a larger plate. Apparently it doesn't hurt. The plate is only removed to eat and sleep. I wonder how they talk?



...The Obnoxious SAHM.... said...

isn't it amazing how other parts of the world live? I just can't wrap my head around this plate/mouth thing though. ouch.

Queen Diva said...


That's amazing!


Michelle J said...

I wonder if they can even speak with the plate in? Do you know the origin of this practice? I can't help but wonder if some man, ages ago, thought it would be clever to convince women a gaping whole in the lips is attractive just so he could have a little quiet. Horrible to think, but really what is the purpose? Ornamental?

Angela said...


Actually the larger the plate the more money, the husband had to pay for the dowry. This girl has a large plate.

Rachel said...

Hello, hello! So nice to meet you!

Thanks for your reassuring words! I tend to over-think things and I guess this is another shining example of that. Haha! I'm trying to just take it as it comes, but that's not always easy when I am sooo ready to have a wonderful little person in my life (besides my dogs, that is). And 4 days for paperwork! WOW! I am very impressed! Once our home study is done, that will be a huge thing off our list. Most of the other stuff is already done, just waiting to be sent off when our home study is complete.

I am so looking forward to reading your blog and learning all about your journey with adoption!


Michelle J said...

Anglea, maybe he pays more because the bigger the plate, the less apt she is to speak.

Angela said...

I guess I should have said dowry, probably livestock or something they use.